Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 3 March 2006

Off to a Wet Start

Edisto River, South Carolina

We spent the winter in our Florida home. We cleaned it up, repaired all signs of hurricane damage and tossed the keys to our real estate agent on the way out. We set an unreasonably high price, about 16 times what we paid when we moved in. We expect to hit Big Bend, Las Vegas, the redwoods, Mt St Helens, the Scablands, Glacier and The Tetons on the way.

Our 4:30 AM Sunday departure from Florida is carefully planned to coincide exactly with the weekly activation of the automatic sprinkler system. I hear soft curses from my faithful companion who has decided to give one last hand-watering to her new flowers. She is standing in the pre-dawn darkness with her back to a sprinkler head when it goes off. I have to retrieve a key for the back gate from the top of another sprinkler head where I thoughtfully left it for the lawn people. We dry out before we hit the Georgia state line.

We camp in a run-down RV park in South Carolina. We stop early to read. I'm anxious to read the new Harry Turtledove Homeward Bound book and see what happens in book eight when the human 'big uglies' carry the war back to Tau Ceti. You need to read these in order, starting in 1942, when The Race interrupted WWII by taking on all sides. It is not much of a plot spoiler to let you know that Dr Henry Kissinger, chief negotiator, died in Cold Sleep on the 60 year trip.

We are just across the road from Colleton State Park. It's on the Edisto River, one of the longest blackwater rivers in South Carolina. There is a 50-mile, 12-hour canoe float down river to here. There was once a ferry to Charleston that launched at this location. Charleston is 50 miles distant on the river in the other direction. There are alligators, water snakes, heron, egrets, live oaks, bald cypress and Spanish moss.

I Google South Carolina State Parks and realize that one could easily spend several months just exploring its dozens of parks.

A blackwater river is very acidic. Usually the water has very little dissolved minerals and they are nearly sterile. The dark water colour comes from dissolved tannins from decaying leaves. Visibility is often very good, nearly 30 feet. The water here has been compared to slightly contaminated distilled water. The water chemistry inhibits the proliferation of insect larvae so these types of southern rivers tend to be much less 'buggy'. This would be a good place to explore by SCUBA.

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